You just finished a great workout. You’re on the floor in a heap, reaching up to anyone who walks by. Your coach reminds everyone to clean up their weights and while you do that, you start talking to your buddies about round three when things got tougher than you imagined they would be. You grab your water bottle and your gym bag and you start walking out the door.
Wait… before you leave, don’t forget to stretch. Why? Stretching after a workout helps calm down your muscles appropriately and helps reduce the risk of injury. Staying flexible helps with everyday tasks such as bending, reaching, squatting and stepping over things.
If you are in a group fitness class, the coach/instructor will most likely lead group stretches at the end of class. If not, make sure to stretch the muscles that were taxed during the workout. Spend 5-10 minutes if possible to get the most benefit.
But stretching isn’t just for post workouts. It can be done at anytime throughout the day and generally speaking, no equipment is needed. Developing a good routine of stretching helps promote long term flexibility.